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The Rachel Maddow Show

News/Business. (2013)

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Chuck Hagel 19, Aig 13, Us 11, Afghanistan 8, Hagel 6, U.s. 6, Tucson 6, Elizabeth Warren 5, Obama 5, Pentagon 5, Scott Brown 4, America 4, Claire Mccaskill 3, Gabby Giffords 3, John Kerry 3, Missouri 3, Msnbc 3, Washington 3, Massachusetts 3, Leon Panetta 2,
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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show    News/Business.  (2013)  

    January 9, 2013
    1:00 - 2:00am PST  

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throw him out of the room. it's outrageous that they're even considering hearing what he has to say. and they're also hearing from the treasury department. i can't believe the treasury department is going the waste its time and go into this boardroom tomorrow. i cannot believe this board is even considering joining this lawsuit. >> is this one man's vengeance, greenberg? >> that's what this is. this is hank greenberg trying to get restitution for all that was done wrong to him beginning in may of 2005 when he had to resign from the company. >> and what if aig had gone under? what if he we had not done this? >> the one thing hank paulson was absolutely right about is the ripple effects of this would have been tremendous. people don't understand this particularly well, but aig had insured the mortgage wrist in the world. when i did that, it collected billions of dollars in premiums. it paid hundreds of millions to salaries and bonuses to the people that work there. but the effect of aig going down would have been disastrous. it was the right thing to bail them out. and it's the right thing for aig to say thank you very much. >> william cohan, good to have you with us tonight. that's "the ed show."
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i'm ed schultz. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> good evening. a spectacular show right now. >> thanks. >> you have them every night. i'm just trying to get there. >> you have very kind. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. this is eric shinseki. eric shinseki went to west point. he graduated june 1965. before that year was out, by december of that same year, second lieutenant eric shinseki was on the ground in vietnam. he was on a one-year combat tour, but he did not make to it the end of that combat tour before he was shipped home. he had gotten there in december. by april he was wounded for the first time. shrapnel from a mortar round hit him in the shoulder and the chest. the injuries not severe enough to have him flown out of vietnam yet. he stayed on after earning that first purple heart. then it was not until five months later in september of
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that year that he got wounded again. and this time it was bad enough for them to have to send him home. he was in a helicopter crash. it left him with a broken jaw and a broken arm. that's on top of the shrapnel he had already taken in the shoulder and in the chest. they flew him home to tripler army medical center in hawaii to recuperate. that was in 1966. by 1970, he was on his way back to the war. he volunteered for another combat tour in vietnam, despite his earlier injuries. when he went back in 1970, he ended up stepping on a land mine that blew off part of his right foot. the army wanted eric shinseki to retire at that point, but he refused. before he was done in vietnam, eric shinseki would earn two purple hearts and three bronze stars. this is john kerry, who started his service in vietnam on board this rather large ship. it's a guided missile cruiser called the uss gridley. he then applied to transfer from the gridley to a much tinier ship. he applied to transfer to duty
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on one of these little patrol boats that duty started in mid-november 1968. by the start of december, he had been awarded his first purple heart. by mid-february, he had been awarded his second purple heart. by the end of february, he was involved in a river battle for which he was awarded the silver star. less than two weeks after that, it was another river battle for which he was awarded the bronze star and his third purple heart. this man is chuck hagel. chuck hagel enlisted in the army in 1967. he was a sergeant in the infantry. in 1968 -- and this is an anomaly. this is not true of very many other people, if any other people at all. chuck hagel served in the same small patrol in the infantry as his brother. he was 21 at the time. his brother tom was 19. in march 1968, sergeant hagel was on patrol when he was hit by shrapnel from a mine. he still carries some of that shrapnel in his chest today. but that day in 1968, it was his younger brother tom who tore his shirt open and wrapped the bandages around chuck hagel's
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chest to stop the bleeding. his brother saved him. his younger brother tom had also been hit by shrapnel. they spent time recovering in a field hospital after that incident. they didn't stay in the hospital long, though, because the following month, in april 1968, the two of them were back out together. they were riding in the same armored personnel carrier when it also was hit by a mine in an ambush. quoting from the book "long time passing" here, chuck instantly aflame, his left side burning, his face a mass of bubbles, concussed with blood running from his ears, frantically tugged and pulled the turret gunner. the turret gunner was his younger brother. "i grabbed tom and he was dead weight, blood pouring out of his ears. i thought for sure he was dead." chuck shoved tom off and fell on top of him to protect him as the vietcong opened fire.
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flames from the burning vehicle shielded him until the trucks up front turned back to save them. chuck hagel went on to become a republican senator from nebraska. he is now president obama's nominee to be secretary of defense. john kerry, of course, went on to become a democratic senator from massachusetts. he is now president obama's nominee to be secretary of state. eric shinseki went on to become an army lifer. he went on to become a four star general. he was appointed secretary of veterans affairs by president obama, in president obama's first term. general shinseki is expected to stay on at veterans affairs in the second term. if senator kerry and senator hague really confirmed in the two positions for which they are nominated, which especially in the case of senator hagel is no sure bet, but if they are all confirm, this will be the first
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time that there are three vietnam combat veterans in the cabinet. the expiration of vietnam as an american political issue -- and the expiration of the issue of vietnam service for american political leaders, that expiration date has been prematurely proclaimed for decades now. when bill clinton in 1992 won the presidency, despite having not served in vietnam, and his opponents trying to use that against him, it was said at the time that the vietnam era in american politics was finally over. that of course came as news 12 years later when george w. bush was running against john kerry in his reelection effort, and it was clear that the vietnam era was definitely not over. in 2008, when we had a vietnam prisoner of war hero running against a democrat who was too young to have served in vietnam, even if he had wanted to, we once again heard that the era of vietnam and vietnam's relationship to american political leadership was something that was over. hey, it's not over. and we shouldn't expect it to be over. and that's important right now for two reasons. the first reason is specific to vietnam. the first reason is about the unfinished business from that
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era, which for a president who was too young to have served in that war, nevertheless seems to be very close to his heart. >> so here today it must be said you have earned your place among the greatest generations. at this time i would ask all our vietnam veterans, those of you who can stand to please stand. all those already standing, raise your hands as we say those simple words which always greet our troops when they come home from here on out, welcome home. [ applause ] welcome home! welcome home! thank you! we appreciate you. welcome home. >> president obama speaking to vietnam veterans last may. the president there reflecting on the fact that it took this country more than a decade to finally say welcome home to vietnam veterans after they came
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home from serving in that war. lack of respect and appreciation shown to vietnam veterans by civilians during the war and after that war is a mistake that the country i think now is fairly unified in trying not to repeat. but vietnam is not so far in the past, though, that you can just fix that problem by promising never to do it again and by promising to do it better the next time. we've got long and unpopular wars under way like we do now. it's also a contemporaneous sign of respect for vietnam service, that veterans of that war are holding positions of leadership, and that their combat experience is being heralded as part of what makes them qualified as leaders and trustworthy as public servants. it's not just about not making that mistake again. it's about trying to rectify that mistake that stands in the lives of these people who lived through it, right? but the second reason -- this is a really interesting dynamic right now in our politics -- is that having an unprecedented number of vietnam combat
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veterans in the cabinet, again, if these two nominations do get confirmed. one of the interesting things about it is not just what happened back then and the treatment of vietnam veterans after they came home, but about what is happening right now in washington. today on a conference call with reporters, the white house deputy national security adviser ben rhodes said for the first time that at the end of next year, the number of troops that we might be dropping down to in afghanistan might very well be zero. quoting from an associated press account, asked in a conference call with reporters whether zero troops in afghanistan was now an option, rhodes said that would be an option we would consider. the 66,000 americans in afghanistan right now, the white house, this new administration is currently preparing to negotiate with the afghan president hamid karzai. and among itself, right. decide internally. not only how many americans
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might be in afghanistan on some indefinite timetable after the end of the war at the end of next year, but importantly, how many americans are going to be there fighting between now and then. in other words, how big is this war going to continue to be? after osama bin laden was killed last may, chuck hagel, who might very well be the next secretary of defense, chuck hagel told his hometown newspaper in nebraska that he thought the killing of bin laden meant that it was time to head for the exits in afghanistan. chuck hagel said also four months after that in the fall of 2011, he said that the defense department is, quote, bloated. he said the pentagon needs to be pared down. senator hagel also endorsed a report by the group global zero that called for cutting the u.s. weapons arsenal by 80%. the overall goal of global zero, as its name implies, global zero, is global zero nuclear weapons. but this 80% cut in our arsenal is a way to get there is something that chuck hagel has supported. what is the new face of the american military going to be after the end of the longest war in american history, which is afghanistan?
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the second longest war in american history is vietnam. to have three vietnam veterans in the cabinet running veterans, running state, running defense is a remarkable milestone for veterans of that war, just as a population group, and one that didn't necessarily get treated right by this country when their time at war ended. but for all of us, for all of us, no matter how old we are, for all of us, whether or not we had any connection to the vietnam politics the first time around, for all of us there is the question now of whether the president's decision to turn to these three vietnam combat veterans for these big, important, big ticket national security posts at this time in mr. obama's presidency, does that tell us something about what this president wants in terms of policy, and what he thinks are the right lessons from our previous lives during wartime, for this particular life during wartime that we are all in together? joining us can colonel jack jacobs. he is an msnbc war analyst. he was awarded for his service in vietnam.
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thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> there is two questions here there is the policy question which i want to get to. but there is also this question of whether a cabinet with three wounded vietnam veterans in the cabinet is important milestone to veterans itself? >> i think it is important to veterans there are lots and lots of things going on here. part of it is a veneer. there is a certain amount of public relations involved in having three combat veterans from that era, from my era now in positions of tremendous authority and responsibility, working for a president who, as you said, was too young to go into the service even if he wanted. so there is a bit of public relations here. the second thing that is of significance is that there is a huge bulge in the american population among my age group, shinseki's age group, hagel's age group, an enormous bulge. lots and lots of people are of our age. >> uh-huh. >> and larger than our
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percentage, this percentage of us in the doesn't implies. and i think that's significant too, having these people in positions of great authority. >> so they're at the age when they should be getting the biggest jobs? >> that's right. they're 70 years old and they should be getting the biggest jobs. s a matter of fact, i'll tell you, and maybe a lot of people, including you would argue, it's long overdue. i think people with that kind of responsibility and authority and capability of doing that kind of job have been ignored for a long, long time in favor of other people who did not serve. and at least partially because they served. we had a very different view of service back then. i think all the time about how we think about people who are currently serving in the armed forces. we love the troops. we adore the troops. everybody loves them. one of the reasons we love the troops, because we don't have to be the troops. >> right. >> we have no draft. and when i was in the army, when i first came into the army, there was a draft. we were fighting an unpopular war then.
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we fought in the all volunteer era two and a half unpopular wars. trust me, if we had a draft during that period of time, there would be riots in the streets, same as there was during vietnam. and we've had the luxury of being able to operate without a draft. and as a result we feel very much differently about people who served than we did when these three men were young and serving. a lot of it has to do with the change in politics and how we do business. >> the reason we don't have a draft is after vietnam when the army restructured itself, that the army decided you know what? having a draft is not in our interest in terms of the kind of professional force we want to be after this very long war. and it certainly keeps coming up as a political issue. but it's not necessarily something that the military has favored. i have always been struck by what the long-term political and security consequences were of that decision that was made in the defense context after that long war. do you feel like there are other really important decisions like
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that, that are going to have to be made by the secretary of defense as afghanistan ends? >> yeah. and i think that the idea that we're actually going to go down to zero or near zero, i think that's accurate. i think that's what the president wants. i think that's what the congress wants to do. there is a lot of money that has to be saved and so on. and we frankly don't have the people to scatter around the world, of the country, 310, 320 million people trying to defend it with a very small number of people. we can't have a significant numbers of them in a country like afghanistan. not that we're spread too thinly, but that we have an insufficient number of people in order to satisfy the requirements that we have of a country like ours that has worldwide obligations. and that goes back to the whole question, the draft and whether or not we've got enough people. and how do we get them in an environment in which nobody wants to serve and we have a hard time making national security decisions about what to do and make them honestly and intelligently.
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we've had a pretty lousy record of making intelligent decisions about national security in the last few years. >> i just think it's fascinating that we're now in a position where we need to be transitioning from being a military that is making all of its decisions about dwell time and how much time you got between deployments and who is going to deploy where and when to instead thinking about a mill they're is not at war, that needs to decide what its strength is going to be, its training requirements, its weapons systems are going to be. and the last time we did this really is after vietnam and we've got all these vietnam guys. >> you're absolutely right. if you talk to a guy like marty dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and you get him against the corner and we're inside the cone of silence and he'll tell you honestly what he believes, he will tell you that one of the major tasks of the
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military establishment today is figure out how it fits in this national security environment. when you have very few people, precision guided instruments you have people around the world, it's a really big problem. and hagel's got a lot on his plate. i'm not certain that he is necessarily the guy to do it, but i think he is going to get confirmed. >> i think the confirmation hearings are going to be fascinating. concern jack jacobs, it is always an honor to have you. >> thanks for having me on the program. i appreciate it. all right. we got a best new thing in the world on tap. we have the first clarion call from new senator elizabeth warren today on capitol hill. this is a big news today. there is lots ahead. stay with us.
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richard mourdock wanted very badly to become a member of the united states senate. he beat out dick lugar to become the republican senate nominee in indiana. he got himself a democratic opponent that everybody seemed to think that he would beat handily. and then richard mourdock said this. >> life is that gift from god, and i think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that god intended to happen. >> if you become pregnant from being raped, that is something god intended to happen. that was sort of the end of richard mourdock. we went on the lose a senate race that he really should have one. and now the new senator from indiana is a democrat, joe donnelly. richard mourdock's view that the government should force rape victims to give birth to their rapist child because god intervened to make sure that certain rapes resulted in the impregnating of the rape victim, that fantastic theology was in the end too much for the residents of indiana to accept.
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there was also todd akin from the great state of missouri who was chosen by republicans in his state to take on democratic incumbent claire mccaskill. claire mccaskill was thought to be sort of easy picks for republicans this past year. they thought that was a seat for sure they could pick up. they picked republican congressman todd akin to go up against her. and then, and then, todd akin said this. >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. >> if it's a legitimate rape, as opposed to all those illegitimate rapes, the female body has ways to prevent that from happening. take it from me, todd akin. claire mccaskill went on the trounce him and held on to a seat that democrats had all but accept they'd were going to lose in missouri. todd akin's view that you can't get pregnant from a legitimate rape, and therefore if you do get pregnant, you obviously
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wanted, so the government should force all victims of illegitimate rape to give birth to their child, in the end that did not fly with the residents of missouri. the thing is they were not alone in the republican party in holding these views. the vice presidential nominee of the republican party in fact shared their policy views of what the federal government should force rape victims to do. the government should monitor the pregnancies of rape victims to force them to make sure that those pregnancies have the government's chosen outcome, even if it is against the rape victim's will. part of the way that the white house was able to stack up an 11-point lead among women voters nationwide and thereby beat mitt romney and paul ryan in the race for the white house is by making a very big deal about insensitive and alienating comments like these from republican politicians famous and infamous. and that is one of the reasons that it is of great political awkwardness right now, that the
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latest high profile cabinet nominee from president obama is somebody who holds distinctly akin and mourdockesque positions on this particular issue. today andrew on chuck hagel's record on when he was a member of the u.s. nat senate. chuck hagel said he, quote, tightened his position on abortion after he discovered that abortion in cases of rape and incest are, quote, rare. well, it never happens, so therefore we should ban it. even in the rare cases where a woman gets pregnant as a result of rape, she should be forced by the government to give birth to that child. so says chuck hagel. in terms of the exceptions that the law allows for cases involving rape or incest, chuck hagel offered this, quote.
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i don't think those two exceptions are relevant. chuck hagel is currently up for job of defense secretary. right? he is not up for secretary of women's health. we generally think of the secretary of defense job adds being the kind of job that is uninflected by social conservative hot button political issues. i mean, running the pentagon is about troop deployments and training regimens and strategic thing about things like intercontinental ballistic missiles. it's generally about guns. we don't think about it having to do with god and gays, except it really kind of does. the last two things that president obama signed into law at the new year were the fiscal cliff thing and the pentagon bill. and the pentagon funding bill includes a big new hard-fought provision over whether women who are in the military who are raped can have access to abortion. this is a live policy issue being debated and hanged as a matter of policy right now. in the defense bill that was just signed by president obama, female troops can now receive medical coverage for abortions that are the result of rape. that is a change in policy that is brand-new. previously, the only abortions
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that were covered for our military servicewomen were in cases where her life was in danger. not anymore. and this is a huge deal in the u.s. military, because it turns out this is a huge problem in the u.s. military. in 2011, a little more than 2,000 cases of sexual assault were reported by female service members. the actual number when you include cases that go unreported is estimated by the pentagon to be more like 19,000. 19,000 cases of rape and sexual assault in the military every year. and now these women will have access to abortion under their insurance coverage in the military. the defense secretary leon panetta has made rape and sexual assault one of his major issues as defense secretary. last year he told nbc news, quote, this is an issue that i as secretary of defense am committed to making sure we confront. where does defense secretary nominee chuck hagel stand on this issue that leon panetta thinks is so important? as a senator, hagel repeatedly voted against amendments to allow servicewomen even to pay for abortion services at military hospitals out of their
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own pockets. so not only will your insurance not be allowed to cover it, according to chuck hagel, you shouldn't even have access to it in military hospitals. what, go find a local service provider, deployed servicewoman? so, again, on the service, a nominee's sensitivity and politics on issues like sexual assault and abortion would seem quite irrelevant to a job like secretary of defense. but it is right in the middle of the kinds of things the secretary of defense has to deal with now. so too the issue of respect for gay people. part of the consternation over chuck hagel's anti-gay comments about an ambassadorial nominee in 1998 was because he made very overt anti-gay comments about somebody as late as 1998. but according to outserve, the group serving lgbt members in the military, that is going to be the first one taking office after the full repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." and there is very live, very sensitive very contested policy
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decisions that have to be made about how openly guy service members are going to be allowed to serve. and specifically, how their family members are or are not going to be recognized by a defense department that recognizes the family members of straight service members. if the defense of marriage act fails at the supreme court, for example, yeah, that's going to affect whether there are same-sex marriage rights in various states all around the country, right? but one of the very first things it's going to affect is day to day life for members of the military there is a whole list of very specific things that other family members get in the military that family members of gay service members right now are banned from getting specifically because of the defense of marriage act. so if the supreme court strikes down the defense of marriage act that is banning these policies, it may very well be chuck hagel deciding the very sensitive issue of whether a gay service member's family gets this kind of equal treatment that he or she would never have had before. so chuck hagel's position on gay rights, which on the service would seem totally irrelevant to
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a job running the military, actually could not be more central to the most sensitive things that he might have to make a decision on personally right away if he gets this gig. i'm telling you, these confirmation hearings are going to be amazing. [ female announcer ] going to sleep may be easy, but when you wake up in the middle of the night it can be frustrating. it's hard to turn off and go back to sleep. intermezzo is the first and only prescription sleep aid approved for use as needed in the middle of the night when you can't get back to sleep. it's an effective sleep medicine you don't take before bedtime. take it in bed only when you need it and have at least four hours left for sleep. do not take intermezzo if you have had an allergic reaction to drugs containing zolpidem, such as ambien. allergic reactions such as shortness of breath or swelling of your tongue or throat may occur and may be fatal. intermezzo should not be taken if you have taken another sleep medicine at bedtime or in the middle of the night or drank alcohol that day. do not drive or operate machinery
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or treat gas with these after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later. oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas.
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there is a place in california called dana point. it's a very, very pretty part of that state, and there is a very swanky resort there called the st. regis monarch beach resort.
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see what, with the fancy golf course? it's very fancy, very pricey. in the fall of 2008, the monarch beach resort was chosen as the executive retreat for the top execs at a ginormous insurance company called aig. remember aig? in the process of just about sinking the american economy with its exponentially risky behavior, aig also just about sunk itself. and as part of trying to save the economy, aig got a mammoth bailout from u.s. taxpayers. $85 billion into that bailout, it was revealed that aig spent more than $440,000 on this retreat at the golf place. its reward for executives who had sunk the largest economy on earth. 23 large on spa treatments alone. cue the justifiable national outrage. well, today there were headlines about aig that brought all that old outrage right back to the surface. today aig got back into the
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headlines for something that had people rummaging around in the attic, looking for the old torches and pitchforks that they hadn't used in the streets since the last time a story like this broke about aig back in 2008. the difference today is that today there was a brand-newly minted united states senator on capitol hill enunciating our national disgust for that company in a way that was not only satisfying, but powerful. can you guess which new senator i'm talking about? would it help if i told you her initials were elizabeth warren? that's coming up. [ thunder crashes ] [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood
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it was two years ago today that then congresswoman gabrielle giffords was shot and nearly killed outside a grocery store. today on the two-year anniversary of the assassination attempt that nearly did kill her and killed six other people and wounded 12 other people, today gabby giffords and her husband, astronaut mark kelly, launched a new political action committee. it's called americans for responsible solutions. they say their goal is to, quote, encourage elected officials to stand up for
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solutions that will prevent gun violence. it's a new political pressure group, in other words. congresswoman gabby giffords and her husband launched this today in a high profile, well done media blitz. they sat through a moving interview with diane sawyer. they published a joint op ed in usa today where they demanded change from washington. but they also pointed to their own unique role in this fight, not just with the former congresswoman as a victim of gun violence, but with her having been a member of congress who was a staunch supporter of the second amendment. gabby giffords was a very pro-gun rights democratic member of congress. she and her husband are not commie liberal pinkos coming to confiscate yours guns. they are both gun owners themselves. "forget the boogie man of big bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. as a western woman and a persian gulf war combat veteran who have exercised our second amendment rights, we do not want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns
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that we have locked in a safe at home. what we do want is what the majority of nra members and other americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence." taking the argument beyond gunowners versus nongunowner, taking the argument beyond absolutist gun anarchy versus a complete gun ban, this turn away from that kind of binary nonsense is the kind of turn in the conversation that typically signifies that there might be movement ahead, that people are getting real about maybe actually getting something done. at the same time on the same day, on the same anniversary, another overture today from roxanna green. the mother of 9-year-old christina taylor green who was killed in the tucson shooting two years ago. she appears in an ad that appeared in seven cities today including washington, d.c. and tucson. this ad is paid for by the mayors against illegal guns action fund. but the thing i find striking
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about it is that it is not just an issue ad to try to get people riled up or even to get people thinking about this as an issue area, as a subject, this is a campaign ad. >> 20 heartbroken families lost a child in the sandy hook school shooting. i know how much it hurts. my 9-year-old daughter was murdered in the tucson shooting. i have one question for our political leaders. when will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby? whose child has to die next? to every mother, we cannot wait. we have to demand a plan. go to demandaplan.org and add your name. >> mayors against illegal guns action fund is responsible for the content in this advertising, which have to demand a plan, concrete action. that message today from the mother of the youngest victim of the tucson mass shooting, which was two years ago today. this is kind of an amazing detail about this. that ad was scheduled to air today in tucson at precisely 10:10 local time, to coincide
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exactly with the exact time that the shooter in that incident opened fire two years ago. this is serious political pressure. this is not just about raising awareness or something, or seeking donations for groups that will work on this in a generic way. this is about using awareness and concern that really already exists to make some kind of concrete public policy change in the short-term. president obama last month tapped vice president biden to lead an effort to put together national proposals for public policy reforms that could curb mass violence in the united states, including potentially reforming gun laws and regulations. and this week the vice president is getting started. tomorrow he will meet with gun control groups and groups for victims of gun violence. but then the next day on thursday he is going to be meeting with gunowners groups, including the national rifle association. and that one detail about the nra being invited to meet with the vice president and rsvp'ing that they would attend the meeting, that is sucking up all
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of the beltway's attention on this effort so far. it's not surprising given that the nra has already offered that their solution to the gun violence problem in this country is more guns in more places where we don't have them already. and that is not really where we expect the white house effort to be headed. but what is more interesting this time, what is more interesting about this effort is how many other people besides the nra are at the table with some political weight behind them. the kind of political capital that they have and are bringing to bear to compete with the gun lobby whose political power has long been feared, but who this year, frankly, has devolved into a nationally reviled political punch line. joining us now is my pal steve schmidt. he is a republican senior strategist from the mccain/palin ticket in '08, msnbc analyst. steve, thank you for being here. good to see you. >> good to see you, rachel. happy new year. >> you too. i know you are a supporter of gun rights, steve. i know you are also a political realist. how do you assess the strength of the effort to try to come up with some form of reform agenda after newtown and after tucson?
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>> look, i think that the ad that you showed is obviously enormously compelling. it's emotional. the whole country was traumatized by this unspeakable tragedy that took place in newtown, and the tragedies that took place before it. and sadly, the tragedies that are going to take place next. and we don't know where those will be. but the nra is a fearsome political lobby. members particularly in the republican party are terrified of being primaried. this issue is often covered through a partisan prism when it should be looked at through a regional prism. if you talk about democrats in the south, in the mountain west, and places like north dakota, and you saw the new saar heidi heitkamp come out and she thinks some of the proposals coming out of the white house are way too extreme for her. so you'll have republican senators like mark kirk in illinois who have been open in the past on issues like assault weapons bans, and you'll have democrats in the west, the
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mountain west and the rural south that will be absolutely opposed to it. and as you said earlier, though it is nonsense, and i'm certainly a person who believes that you can be a second amendment supporter, and also have sensible regulations on guns, but this issue plays out on the extremes, on the absurd binary choice that has defined the issue for so long. >> and that analysis, what you said there at the end, that we've spent so much time fighting about extreme positions that nobody is actually trying to advance, that we've left the -- we've left the whole middle ground of responsible, reasonable, respectful reform essentially untilled politically, that argument which you're getting from people like gabby giffords, which you're getting in some cases from other victims, gun violence victims groups, i think potentially is new grounds. let me give you a hypothetical. let's pick a hypothetical reform
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that even a pro-gun rights republican like you might see as wise and compatible of the second amendment. something like strengthening the background check system so nobody can buy a gun if they're on the terrorist watch list. if you hypothetically wanted to put together a political effort to try to get just something narrow like that passed, how would you do it? >> well, you'd have to obviously put together a bipartisan coalition of republicans and democrats. and it would be made up of the middle idealogically of the congress. but it would also be disproportionately heavy republican in the northeast. democrats obviously in the northeast and urban areas will have one sensibility. you know, it is a -- it is a very tough issue. it's an issue where on something like this the chances of it being -- even something that is common sense as that, making it all the way through the process and having it be presented to
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the president as cleanly as you said, i think is a very difficult thing to envision, as absurd as that sounds. because on the right you have people who say that any type of regulation, any attempt to regulate is a step towards confiscation. and then on the left, you have, for example, the website today publishing the names of all the gunowners in new york. and actions like that seem to a lot of people evidence of the confiscation argument. so it's a -- it's a discussion that is held captive by the extremes on both sides. and it's an issue where when members of congress get ready for elections, they know the nra is potent, that it's been potent in the past. and the nra is organized for the long haul on this fight. these other groups that there might be new energy behind it, there might be new passion behind it, but they don't have the resources that the nra does. and it will be interesting to
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see over the next six months to a year are they able to build resources, are they able to project political power, are they able to take this issue and to beat people on the wrong side of the issue in swing districts. and until they do that, it's going to be tough to move forward. >> seeing them try to move all the political capital they've got right now, all the aspirational capital they have right now into really resource-driven political muscle i think is going to be the real test here too. steve schmidt former mccain/palin strategist, msnbc contributor, i miss seeing you. some poll results that are way outside the margin of awesomeness. that's coming up.
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we're now leaner and focused on what we do best. >> we have repaid every dollar. >> everything, plus a profit of more than two billion. >> for the american people, we turned it around. >> thank you, america. >> thank you. no, thank you. that is the insurance company, aig, thanking america for the taxpayer-funded bailout, in an ad that it started running on new year's day, after the treasury sold off its final
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stake in the insurance company last month. thank you, america. that ad has been running during college football games, during nfl playoff games, on news networks, even including this one. it is a two-week tv campaign for the insurance giant to not only show gratitude but maybe rebuild their image a bit, after one of the biggest and most wildly unpopular bailouts of all time. so how is it going so far? well, half way into the public relations endeavor, indebted for us all for saving them from financial ruin, well, this is how it is going. thank you, america, now we may sue you to try to squeeze some more cash out of you. the board of aig looking into a lawsuit on behalf of shareholders. the lawsuit contends the taxpayers' rescue of the company cheated shareholders and violated their rights.
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in a statement today, aig said the board will make a decision in the next several weeks. the white house has declined to comment on the issue saying the lawsuit is still pending. but we do have this. we do have a comment from the person president obama tasked with inventing an entirely new government agency to protect us all from predators and negligent companies in the financial sector, outside who last week became a united states senator, senator elizabeth warren said beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions into aig to save it from bankruptcy. their debts nearly crashed our entire economy. the taxpayers across the country saved aig from ruin, and it would be outrageous for them to sue the federal government because they think the deal was not good enough. they have a stealth bailout, propping up aig. aig should thank american taxpayers for their help, not biting the hand that helped them
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in a crisis. and as satisfying as the comment is for its smack down nature, it didn't just happen because of an act of god. the meltdown was caused by the recklessness of aig and other companies on wall street that played fast and loose with the rules, and now would prefer even fewer rules to regulate their actions, because their actions are always so responsible. senator warren's opponent in the recent election was scott brown, who was the top beneficiary of the donations in the senate. but scott brown lost, and lost to elizabeth warren. and so today it was elizabeth warren and not scott brown, opening up her new office in massachusetts, a new senator who represents the state of massachusetts, who is not wall street's favorite senator, like scott brown was. and who has a perch that can
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argue that they would probably make unopposed. elections, consequences. tada!
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best new thing in the world today, the 2012 presidential election was famously tough on pollsters, but the democratic leaning firm, public policy polling did better than most, correctly predicting the presidential outcome in all the states. they are accurate, we know that from experience, but the other thing to know about ppp is that they're the only sound political polling firm in the country are the regularly out loud funny. they once asked people in pennsylvania, do you have enough santorum in your life or not? they asked michigan people, do you think the trees are high enough here in michigan?
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after the last election, they asked, do you think that barack obama legitimately won the election this year, or do you think that acorn stole it for him? 49% said that acorn stole it for them. acorn that doesn't exist anymore. they asked for rating for all the u.s. presidents, including the ones that nobody who is not on jeopardy remembers. millord fillmore, topping out. in july 2011, the ppp national poll turned from questions about congress to this "if god exists, do you approve or disapprove of its performance"? turns out god's approval rating is not that bad, 52% of people approve of god's godliness, they are good at it. that combination oin